National Guard activated to drive children to school due to worker shortages

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Air Force Brig. Gen. Virginia I. Gaglio, dual status commander of Task Force Minuteman, the element in charge of COVID-19 response in Mass., speaks to the service members of Task Force Raptor about the National Guard’s operations in the fight against COVID-19 at Joint Force Headquarters here, April 29, 2020. (Army National Guard photo by Staff. Sgt. Kenneth Tucceri)

Michael Bonner

In response to cities requesting assistance in transporting children to school, Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday activated the Massachusetts National Guard to act as drivers.

Baker’s order will make up to 250 personnel available. Beginning on Tuesday, 90 National Guard members will begin training to transport children to school in Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell and Lynn.

The members of the National Guard will serve as drivers of school transport vans known as “7D vehicles.” Before any member of the National Guard drives a 7D vehicle, the state said they will complete training and meet all the requirements to drive the vans.

The need for drivers arrives as staff shortages have plagued certain school districts in the state.

Baker’s orders will not interfere with the National Guard’s ability to respond to and assist in emergencies in Massachusetts, the state said.

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